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Economy

Non-hospital deaths raise Covid-19 fears

Cases of severely sick patients refusing to seek medical attention and dying at home from the coronavirus have presented Kenyan health authorities with deeper concerns
Cases of severely sick patients refusing to seek medical attention and dying at home from the coronavirus have presented Kenyan health authorities with deeper concerns. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Cases of severely sick patients refusing to seek medical attention and dying at home from the coronavirus have presented Kenyan health authorities with deeper concerns, even as the country's confirmed cases hit 607 Thursday.

Health Director-General Patrick Amoth warned there could be a rise in coronavirus infections in the communities where non-hospital deaths are occurring.

The Ministry of Health reported 25 more infections yesterday from 632 samples tested. Seven more persons were discharged, bringing the total recoveries to 197 while the number of deaths reached 29 after three more people succumbed.

Dr Amoth said that some of the deaths happened away from hospital facilities - pointing to the extent of the community spread that is already underway. This, he said, undermined the containment measures taken by the government to stop the spread of the virus.

“Deaths at the community level are a big concern to us. Thursday we had deaths in Mombasa at the community level.

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In Eastleigh, we also had another case. Deaths happening at this level means that these people have a severe form of the disease. They are more symptomatic and heavy shedders of the virus,” he said.

higher viral loads

“Those that take care of them and those in close proximity to them are at a very high risk of acquiring the infection from them.

“Therefore, our appeal is if you are not feeling well and you have signs of Covid-19 get in touch so that we can attend to you.”

A study published in the ‘‘Journal of Hospital Infection’’ last month concluded that severely affected patients may have higher viral loads and are more likely to spread it to others.

An earlier study in the ‘‘Emerging Infectious Diseases’’ Journal found that "critically ill patients had a longer duration of transmission and shedding of the virus."

Speaking at yesterday's media briefing, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman also reiterated that the government’s latest stringent measures that have seen Nairobi's Eastleigh and Mombasa’s Old Town put under lockdown for 15 days beginning Wednesday night were aimed at protecting lives.

He urged residents of the two neighbourhoods to observe the directives on the cessation of movement and to adhere to other guidelines meant to mitigate against the disease.

It also emerged that Kenya’s porous borders were undermining efforts to slow down the spread of the virus as cases continued to be reported in Migori and Wajir.

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